Updated February 26, 2021:
We know this is a difficult time. As we continue to monitor the COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation, MVP is here to support you and your family.
Get connected to important resources on what you can do to stay healthy.
Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19
Does my health plan cover the COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes, the COVID-19 vaccine is covered under all MVP health plans and is free for all MVP members. There is no co-pay and $0 cost-share when you get the vaccine.
MVP strongly encourages you to get the vaccine once it is available to you.
Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?
Yes, the COVID-19 vaccine is safe. Vaccines are only given to the public once they are considered safe and are approved by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). Scientific data—including effectiveness and safety—from the COVID-19 clinical trials has been reviewed by the FDA and a separate independent advisory body, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccines.
Who will receive the vaccine first?
New York and Vermont are following the recommendations of the federal advisory group for vaccine distribution.
As of February 16, 2021, New York is distributing vaccines to people in groups 1a and 1b. That includes:
- 1a: Health care personnel and long-term care facility residents
- 1b: Frontline essential workers and people age 65 and older
- 1b: Individuals of any age with certain health conditions
Detailed information is available from the New York State Website, including complete list of eligible essential workers and qualifying health conditions and up-to-date vaccine information and eligibility guidelines.
As of February 16, 2021, Vermont is distributing vaccines to the following groups of people:
- Health care personnel and long-term care facility residents
- People age 70 and older
As vaccine availability increases, vaccination recommendations will expand to include more groups.
Detailed information is available from the Vermont State Website, including up-to-date eligibility guidelines.
How do I know if I’m eligible to receive the vaccine? How do I schedule an appointment?
While the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) makes recommendations for who should be offered the vaccine first, each state has its own plan for vaccine prioritization, distribution, and allocation. Vaccines are by appointment only.
How do I know if I am high risk?
According to the CDC, older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Learn more about people who are at increased risk for severe illness.
If you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 because of your age or because you have serious underlying medical conditions, follow the CDC guidelines to reduce your risk of exposure.
Other population groups may be at high risk of exposure to COVID-19 including people with disabilities, people experiencing homelessness, and people who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Learn more about these population groups and their risk of exposure.
Are adverse reactions to the vaccine covered?
Yes. Treatment for any adverse reactions is medically necessary and covered by MVP. Members should refer to their schedule of benefits or call the Customer Care Center at the number located on the back of their MVP Member ID card for cost share information. Cost share is dependent upon place of service.
Can I get infected with COVID-19 from the vaccine?
No. The current vaccines do not use a live virus that causes COVID-19. The goal for the vaccines is to teach our immune system how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19.
Are there any side effects?
The vaccine may cause side effects related to your body’s own immune response such as muscle pain, soreness at the injection site, chills, fatigue, headache, or fever. This is a normal sign that your body’s immune response is working. It is not cause for alarm.
Will the vaccine keep me from passing the virus to others?
Evidence so far suggests that COVID-19 vaccines will help stop people from developing the most severe strain of the disease, but it is unknown whether the vaccine will prevent the spread from person to person.
Vaccines work with your immune system so your body will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed. Other steps, like wearing a mask and staying at least six feet away from others help lower your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others. The best protection from COVID-19 is to use all these measures together.
Thinking of wearing two masks? Learn how to effectively wear a mask according to CDC guidelines.
If I’ve already had COVID-19 and recovered, should I still get the vaccine?
Yes. Health risks associated with COVID-19 are severe, and re-infection is possible. If you are in a group that can receive the vaccine, you are advised to do so even if you have been sick with COVID-19.
However, if you are currently infected with COVID-19, you should wait to get vaccinated until you are no longer sick and meet the criteria to discontinue isolation.
Testing and Treatment
Does my health plan cover COVID-19 testing?
MVP covers the cost of COVID-19 testing that has been deemed medically necessary at no cost share to members.
MVP does not reimburse for COVID-19 tests performed on an asymptomatic individual solely to assess health status, even if required by parties such as government/public health agencies, employers, common carriers, schools, or camps, or when ordered upon the request of a member solely to facilitate the member’s desire to self-assess COVID-19 immune status.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) require that members of Medicare MSA plans who have not reached their deductible limit pay costs related to COVID-19 testing.
There are two kinds of tests available for COVID-19.
Antibody tests detect whether a person has had a COVID-19 infection some time in the past. Antibody tests may not show if you currently have a COVID-19 infection. A lab-based viral test will tell you if you currently have COVID-19. It is not clear from current science whether testing positive on an antibody test offers protection from COVID-19 in the future.
Viral tests detect whether a person has (or had) an active infection at the time the test is taken. Typically, these tests are used by people who have symptoms or believe they may have been exposed to the coronavirus recently. If you test negative on a viral test, that does not mean you can’t get sick in the future. If you test positive on a viral test, visit the CDC’s website for advice on caring for yourself and others.
People in need of a COVID-19 test often seek out a health care provider or facility that offers rapid testing. Rapid tests give results within the same day of testing, sometimes as quickly as 30 minutes. However, be aware that rapid tests have a high false negative rate, meaning you may have COVID-19 despite a negative rapid test result. Rapid tests are recommended only for symptomatic individuals.
If you are symptomatic and have a negative rapid test, you should get a lab-based viral test to confirm that you are negative. Lab-based test results come back within 3-5 days but are more accurate.
Does my health plan cover treatment for COVID-19?
MVP will cover COVID-19 treatment at no cost-share to the member for most MVP health plans in New York through March 31, 2021, and for most health plans in Vermont through July 1, 2021. Self-funded plan members should check with their employer to see if they have adopted the waived cost-share guidance.
Routine Health Care
Can I refill my prescription early?
Due to COVID-19, MVP members in Vermont and those with an MVP Medicare plan with pharmacy coverage can get an emergency early refill of a 30-day supply of maintenance medications at an in-network pharmacy. MVP Medicare members can also request up to a 90-day supply. Talk to your pharmacist about an early refill and if it applies to you.
- Early refills are not available for controlled substances or specialty medications.
- Medicaid members who are quarantined can ask about available options by contacting CVS Caremark Customer Care at 1-866-832-8077 (TTY: 1-800-231-4403).
Want your prescriptions mailed directly to your home? Take advantage of CVS Caremark’s Mail Order pharmacy (if your benefit allows). Using mail-order lets you buy medications in larger quantities, usually for a lower price. Some retail pharmacies will also mail or deliver prescriptions to a home address. Ask your pharmacist what options may work for you. Check out the MVP formulary listed below to find out if the medication you are taking can be filled as a 90-day supply. Keep in mind that:
- Most specialty medications may be obtained through CVS Specialty, which will mail the prescriptions to your home.
- Pharmacies may limit refills of a medication based on their current supply and ability to restock.
- All limits noted within the formulary and copays still apply to early refill requests.
To start using mail-order services, sign in to your online member account and select Pharmacy to connect to the CVS Caremark website. Then select Prescriptions, then Start Mail Services. You can also call the MVP Customer Care Center at the phone number listed on the back of your MVP Member ID card or talk to your pharmacist to see if you have the benefit.
Should I still get my preventive care?
It’s still important to see your doctor for routine check-ups, screenings, and immunizations. They help keep you healthy! They also help find health issues earlier when they are most treatable. Don’t wait until you feel sick to see your doctor.
Is it safe to go into my doctor’s office?
Doctors have made many changes to their offices. These changes help keep patients and staff safe. Some of these safety measures include:
- Conducting temperature checks
- Screening everyone who enters the building for COVID-19 symptoms
- Enforcing social distancing
- Sterilizing surfaces often
- Ensuring everyone wears a facemask
- Rearranged waiting rooms so patients don’t sit next to each other
If you do not feel safe going into your doctor’s office, ask your provider about telemedicine visits. You may be able to speak with your doctor over the phone or by video.
I don’t feel comfortable going into my doctor’s office right now. Do I have other options?
Due to COVID-19, in-person visits may not be an option for you right now. Many provider offices offer telemedicine, or virtual visits. Telemedicine allows you to speak with your doctor over the phone or via video. Most of what happens during an in-person visit can be done by telemedicine. You and your doctor can discuss:
- Your overall health and lifestyle
- Any screenings or immunizations you may need
- Behavioral health concerns (includes mental health and substance use disorders)
Learn more about Gia℠, offering access to MVP’s FREE telemedicine services and health information you can trust.
Should my provider charge me extra for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?
No, your provider should not charge you for personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks, gowns, and gloves. You are not responsible for charges beyond your standard copayment, coinsurance, or deductible payment.
If you have been charged for PPE, you must be reimbursed by your doctor. PPE reimbursements will be refunded directly by your doctor’s office. If you have concerns about PPE charges incurred from your participating provider, please call the MVP Customer Care Center at the phone number listed on the back of your MVP Member ID card.
How do I protect myself from scams?
We take insurance fraud very seriously. Fraudsters may target people in several ways, using phone calls, social media, websites and even door-to-door visits. They may offer to send you vaccines, tests, masks, or other desirable items in exchange for your insurance number or personal information.
The FDA has found that unauthorized fraudulent test kits for COVID-19 are being sold online. At-home tests are currently unavailable in New York State. Contact your doctor if you think you should be tested for COVID-19.
There are several ways to protect yourself from scams, including:
- Be cautious of websites and stores selling products that claim to prevent, treat, or cure COVID-19. There are no FDA-approved products to prevent COVID-19. Remember, currently the only way to be tested for COVID-19 is to talk to a health care provider (see “Does my health plan cover COVID-19 testing?” above for details). Products marketed for veterinary use, or “for research use only,” or otherwise “not for human consumption,” have not been evaluated for safety and should never be used by humans.
- Only share your insurance card number with your primary and specialty care doctors, participating pharmacist, hospital, health insurer, or other trusted health care provider.
- Check your claims summary forms for errors.
For Medicaid Only:
There have been reports of online scams where families are told that their eWIC cards have been suspended. This is not true; New York State WIC has not suspended eWIC cards. Once a family receives their benefits, benefits are valid through the “Benefits Valid Through” date. If you have questions, please contact your local WIC office.
What other resources are available to me and/or my family?
Here are other public resources to help you and your family learn more about COVID-19:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- World Health Organization (WHO)
- New York State Department of Health
- Vermont Department of Health
- New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH)
Learning the COVID-19 Language
Asymptomatic and Presymptomatic: The difference between someone who is asymptomatic and someone who is presymptomatic is subtle, but important.
Someone who is asymptomatic has the virus that causes COVID-19, but does not show any symptoms of the disease. People who are asymptomatic are difficult to identify because they usually do not seek testing.
Someone who is presymptomatic has the disease too, but does not show symptoms at the time of testing. Their symptoms appear later during the course of the infection.
Coronavirus: This term can mean different things. These days, it usually means the virus that causes COVID-19, a disease that may cause serious illness and death. It could also be used to mean any of a family of viruses that cause diseases in humans, animals, or both.
COVID-19: COVID-19 stands for coronavirus disease 2019. It is a new (or novel) viral infection that can cause serious illness and death. Because it is new, people have little or no immune protection from it, causing it to spread quickly and widely.
“Flatten(ing) the Curve”: This common phrase refers to the use of disease prevention practices (like social distancing and the use of protective gear like face masks) to slow down the spread of the coronavirus. Flattening the curve is critical to ensure that people who need health care services for any reason can access them.
Isolation: Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease (like COVID-19) from people who are not sick. It helps protect the public by preventing exposure to people who have or may have a contagious disease. Isolation can take place at home or at a health care facility. People who are in isolation should have no visitors to their home and stay six feet away from others, even those in their own households.
Pandemic: A pandemic is a worldwide spread of a disease to many people. The World Health Organization has called COVID-19 a pandemic because it has affected many people across the globe.
Quarantine: similar to isolation (above), quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. It helps protect the public by preventing exposure to people who have or may have a contagious disease. People in quarantine should have no visitors to their home and stay six feet away from others, even those in their own households. If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 through contact or travel, or are at high risk for contracting the virus, you should quarantine at home to reduce the spread of the disease. Per state Department of Health (DOH) guidance, people who have been exposed to COVID-19 but have no symptoms living in New York should quarantine for 10 days, while those living in Vermont should quarantine for 14 days.
Social Distancing: Keeping six or more feet of distance between yourself and other people when in public places. It also means avoiding groups of 10 or more, staying away from busy places (stores, hiking trails), and not having visitors to your home. Social distancing keeps people who are high-risk for COVID-19 safe. Learn more about social distancing.
Information regarding COVID-19 is subject to change.